Storms fail to deter well-wishers

Hampshire Chronicle: Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace after an easel was placed in the forecourt to announce the birth of a baby boy Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace after an easel was placed in the forecourt to announce the birth of a baby boy

Torrential downpours and thunderstorms failed to deter royal well-wishers as scores of people braved the weather to queue outside Buckingham Palace well into the early hours.

A steady stream of hardy royal fans lined up against the Palace gates throughout the night to catch a brief glimpse of the ornate easel holding the framed A4 statement confirming the birth of the new Prince of Cambridge.

Those who decided against jostling for a spot at the gates at the height of the excitement last night returned early this morning, despite the onset of heavy showers which had thinned the joyous crowd shortly before midnight.

One police officer, approaching the end of an overnight shift at the gates, said: "There were people here almost all night trying to get a look at the easel.

"The rain came at about 11pm and we saw nine-tenths of people go home. But some of them stayed until about 2am. Those who didn't fancy it last night started arriving at first light. It seems everybody wants to see it."

A dozen police officers formed a makeshift guard of honour at the gates in line with the easel in order to create two even queues snaking back to the Victoria Memorial outside the Palace this morning, as commuters sought to take a photograph of the easel on their way to work.

They were joined by cyclists and joggers, including 27-year-old lecturer David Wills, who took a two-mile detour via Buckingham Palace on his usual run to work. "This was a great event - yet again our Royal Family is bringing everyone together," he said. "I took a bit of a detour to come here, but it was worth it. I kind of feel as though I am seeing part of history here today."

Those still wanting to see the framed statement on the forecourt only have a few hours left to do so. A Buckingham Palace official said it will be on show for around 24 hours after confirmation of the birth, meaning it is unlikely to be there much after 8pm today.

There was a musical tribute to the newborn prince at the palace, as members of the Scots Guards band performed 'Congratulations' following the Changing the Guard ceremony. Some of those in the crowd who packed outside the palace gates and at the Victoria Memorial sang along, while the ensemble broke into spontaneous applause at its conclusion.

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